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Recruitment & retention one of top 3 keeping charity leaders awake at night

Melanie May | 12 December 2022 | News

Report cover detail - In the face of overwhelming need - supporting charities to navigate the cost of living crisis by IVAR

Exhaustion across the sector as one crisis has followed another means many charity staff are considering their futures, according to research by IVAR.

During November, IVAR held sessions with 32 charity leaders from across the UK to hear about the impact of the cost of living crisis on their work. The aim was to understand their concerns and how funders could help.

The findings are revealed in a new publication, In the face of overwhelming need  – Supporting charities to navigate the Cost of Living crisis written by Annie Caffyn, Ben Cairns, Liz Firth. The report reveals that the top three concerns for charity leaders at the current time are:

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1. Continuing and unprecedented volatility and the resulting stress

2. Exhaustion across the sector

3. Recruiting and retaining staff

With the pandemic leading straight into the cost of living crisis, IVAR found organisations under immense pressure and exhaustion across the sector from dealing with their impact.

As a result, the report says many people are considering their futures with leaders seeing an escalation of frontline staff leaving, and other colleagues moving away from senior leadership roles.

The report notes widespread concern about the breadth of talent leaving the sector, as well as the demands on teams as they cover additional roles. It adds:

“At the same time, many leaders are experiencing real difficulties with both recruitment and retention of staff, pointing to a continuing lack of funding for staff wellbeing. Often, providing proper support means cutting back on frontline staff, increasing pressure in other ways.”

The cost of living crisis also means individuals’ priorities are changing as they struggle to keep up with rising costs and wages that can’t keep up with inflation. The report adds that the reliance of so many sector jobs on short-term funding is also adding to retention issues as staff are forced to consider more secure options.

Based on the discussions with the 32 charity leaders, IVAR’s report makes a series of recommendations for funders, as well as charities.

Funders, it suggests, could give charities greater stability and control over their own resources, give charities a more powerful voice in the decisions funders make about their priorities and practices, and focus on getting the basics right to reduce the intense and prolonged pressures charities are under.

To better navigate bidding processes and/or develop more productive relationships with funders, IVAR recommends that charities consider collaborating with other organisations for joint applications, and are clear and confident in their negotiations with funders.

The full report and its recommendations can be found here.

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